A vibrant and diverse evangelical Christian community.

‘By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established’  Proverbs 24:3

Cranmer Hall, St John’s College,

3 South Bailey, Durham DH1 3RJ

Formational Training

At the heart of who we are, and all that we do at Cranmer Hall, is a call to grow in Christlikeness. This means abiding in Christ (John 15:5), growing in the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and living our lives rooted and established in Him (Colossians 2:6-7). Being part of a Christian community is really important in our journey to become more like Christ.

Our academic pathways are not detached from this – rather, our modules (both through the teaching and the forms of assessment) help to nurture our discipleship, character formation and ministerial training.

Each residential and mixed mode ordinand also has a tutor in college, whom they will meet with at least three times a term. Tutors help students to theologically reflect on their learning and experience through their modules and placements, to continue to discern their vocation and seek and articulate what God is doing. Tutors also support the student with any pastoral needs and offer prayer.

We have various other opportunities in which we can engage with our wider formation as Christian leaders:

Ordinands meet twice every week in their ‘Discipleship Group’, which is a small group of around a dozen members led by two continuing students.

They offer an opportunity to grow deeper in relationships, to pray together and for one another, to offer mutual support, companionship, socialising and service. Discipleship Groups also offer a context in which to learn to work well with other leaders and different group members. They are a significant space for development and formation – spiritually, personally and ministerially.

Cranmer Hall and St John’s college share a part-time chaplain, Rev Anna Brooker. You are welcome to contact the chaplain to talk confidentially about matters of faith and life, in the way that you would with a spiritual director (see below).

Many people find that their time of training in theological college is where God does a lot of shaping of our hearts and character – which can be exhausting and wonderful, painful and inspirational! When we go through transformation we need someone who can support us and pray for us – and our chaplain is here to do exactly this for all in our community.

Personal prayer is very important. One resource for the crucial task of growing in our life of prayer is that of spiritual direction. There are many names for this, and different titles can seem off-putting if we are not in the habit of using them.  This is not the preserve of any one tradition in the Church, but a soul-friend/companion/guide can give us a stability, objectivity and stimulus which is hard to achieve in any other way. Spiritual directors help us to deepen our prayer life; they listen to us, offer other patterns of prayer to us, and pray for us.

In the first year and final year of training, every ordinand goes on a weekend retreat which provides the space to reflect, discern and pray. These are also important times for the year group to form together as a community and deepen our fellowship together.

During the third term, we engage with some more practical theology for the equipping of mission and ministry in different contexts, as well as some training to prepare our hearts and minds as future leaders of the church. For example, our ordinands all participate in block teaching such as:

  • Schools Ministry (here we look at how to nurture the faith of children and young people; the vision of the C of E for education; practical skills needed for discipling children and young people; how to engage and partner with local schools; and going out on placement to some of our local primary and secondary schools).
  • Diversity Training (here we explore ministering among those with mental health challenges, providing worship and pastoral care that includes and involves people with different disabilities and additional needs, ministering in multi-cultural and multi-faith contexts, unconscious bias training and exploring the different socio-economic factors of our communities).
  • Christianity and Other Faiths (here we explore other faiths – with a focus on Islam – and inter-faith engagement, as well as visiting leaders of other faiths and their places of worship)
  • Death and Bereavement (here we look at pastoral care to those grieving; complex issues around illness, death and grief; funeral ministry; working with funeral directors different cultural and societal responses to death and grief; the church’s response to death and grief; theology around heaven/hell; resurrection theology, etc.).
  • Human Sexuality, Gender and Christian Ministry (here we explore issues of sexuality and gender from different perspectives and in different cultures, and how we engage with this in ministry and pastoral care).

All of our ordinands participate in Mission Study Blocks in small groups during June each year. We have a range of excellent options to choose from, which may include some of the following:

  • Guided Pilgrimage to the Holy Land with our Warden and Academic Dean;
  • European mission trip to Belgium
  • Exploring Poverty and the Mission of God
  • Contemplative Spirituality and Mission
  • Church Planting and Entrepreneurial Mission
  • Cross-Cultural Learning and Discipleship: Burundi

Cranmer Hall seeks to enable all our students to engage with their learning here to their fullest potential. In particular, we endeavour to assist students with specific learning differences or disabilities to receive the support they require. For us, this is not simply a matter of compliance with the Equality Act (2010), but is part of our understanding of following Christ. Jesus said that he came so that we might have life in all its fulness, and we desire to see that fulfilled also in our academic life. If you have questions, please contact us at cranmer.admissions@durham.ac.uk. See also Durham University’s Disability Support https://www.dur.ac.uk/disability.support/